The best way to improve a credit score is by making on-time payments.
Payment history accounts for 35% of a credit score, but there is no need to dig yourself into debt to improve your credit score.
Qualifying for a low-limit credit card is all you need. Make a few small charges each month and pay your account in full each and every month.
Keeping charges below 10% of your credit card’s limit is good for your credit score as well. So if you have a card with a $500 limit, keeping your monthly charges below $50 is also a good, credit-building strategy.
If you are unable to qualify for an unsecured credit card because you are new to credit or have made credit mistakes in the past, apply for a secured card instead.
With a secured card, you make a small deposit, typically a couple of hundred dollars, with a credit card issuer. And your card’s credit line is your deposit minus any fees charged by the card issuer.
Make sure you choose a secured card that is reported to each of the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Then, make steady on-time payments with a secured card and keep charges below 10% of your credit line. And after a year of on-time payments, ask your issuer for an unsecured credit card.
You can keep track of your credit-building with Credit.com’s free credit tools. You’ll receive two free credit scores and a customized plan to build your credit. And because your data is updated each month, you will be able to track your progress.
Remember: The key is building up a good solid payment record, not acquiring debt. Only charge what you can pay off each month, and maximize your credit-building efforts by following the 10% rule.
Then, pay your bills on time and watch your credit score climb.